On September 11, 2012 a fire occurred in a garment factory located in Baldia Town, Karachi, Pakistan.
On September 11 2012 a fire occurred in a textile plant owned by Ali Enterprises in Baldia Town, Karachi, Pakistan.
RINA Services’ role and features of the SA8000 certification
Prior to the fire, Ali Enterprises held a SA8000 certificate for the plant in Baldia Town that had been issued by RINA Services.
To award the SA8000 certification, RINA was accredited by SAAS (Social Accountability Accreditation Services), which refers to SAI (Social Accountability International), a non-profit organisation that represents the main stakeholders of the SA8000 system.
The certification (a voluntary standard for auditable third-party verification) is applied to the effectiveness of a management system, with regards to its “social accountability” with compliance being verified through periodic audits and sample testing.
Pictures taken after the fire, together with an analysis of the company’s actions prior to the fire would appear to show a substantial difference between the plant’s conditions at the time of the fire when compared with the plant’s conditions at the time of audit, which occurred about two months prior.
Immediate facts, consequences and the subsequent development of the certification scheme
After the event, RINA conducted an internal review together with the accreditation body, SAAS. RINA still holds its accreditation and continues its certification business in developed markets, such as Italy and other countries (around 12% worldwide). Following the Karachi fire, RINA decided to discontinue its certification activities in Pakistan, as the commercial attitude to compliance in the country was not commensurate with RINA’s standards.
Following the Karachi fire, SAAS revised the standards required in order to obtain certification, together with the testing and data collection procedures required to produce audits and reports.
Rina has only been involved in one proceeding that was aimed at defining the powers and functions of the investigation. So far, these proceedings have not resulted in any decision.
The fire at the Ali Enterprises has been, and still is, the subject of many administrative and legal investigations, which have no bearing on the certification process undertaken by RINA at the time.
Recent news seems to suggest that the cause of the fire was as a result of malevolent behaviour towards the company’s owners by people implicated in criminal organisations and extortion activities.